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Thread: Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

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    Going Cold Blooded outstar79's Avatar
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    Do You Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is?

    I have noticed in a lot of threads, there are plenty of members whom are all too happy to critique or "like" your work but all too often offer nothing of their own. Is it that they feel insecure, embarrassed or generally don't think that their photography is good enough?

    I personally have found this site to be a fantastic learning experience and I'm grateful to everyone that has taken the time to teach and impart their knowledge to me to make me a better photographer. I certainly didn't think my photography was very good when I first started here, and admittedly it wasn't But people down know where you stand photographically if they've got nothing to go by right?

    I encourage everyone that utilizes this site, to use it to it's full potential. I know I've learnt heaps - take the plunge and throw a few more images to CC!

    Last edited by outstar79; 29-06-2012 at 11:29am.
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    Adam Brice

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Know what you mean and I often send PM's to people who only post their own threads and contribute naught to others. In fact on several occasions this has lead to me closing someone's account on the site. Their PM replies are often a good guide as to their personality flaws. Some people seem to forget the adage 'give and you shall receive". Others just need a little push in the right direction and take the PM comments on board and start helping others out as well.

    We also have a bit of unwritten etiquette that if you post a photo for critique, then give three other member's photos a critique at the same time.

    Personally I also like to see that people can actually take photos. If all they do is talk gear and how great some lens is, etc, but we never see any of their photos, we have no way of knowing if someone actually skilled at photography, or happy to just talk the talk.

    Here is an example (member details removed - and they have had their account closed). Recently someone posted a comment on a thread on AP:

    DIGITAL CAMERAS ARE clever things, and one of their cleverest tricks is their use of histograms. These have the ability to show you a real time ‘tone map’ of the photo you have just taken.

    Depending on your camera, you open the histogram on the LCD screen at the back and it gives a visual representation of the tonal range of the shot, with deep shadows on the left, midtones in the middle (e.g. greys and greens) and highlights on the right. As such, it’s both a handy visual guide and a diagnostic tool, showing you areas of the shots that are under or over exposed. You can then make the necessary adjustments to compensate for this.

    The histogram can be turned on and off in an instant, giving you an illustration of how 256 levels of brightness are distributed in a photo. The darkest shadows are 0, the highlights are 255, and the line running from left to right shows the increasing brightness in your image. Meanwhile, the peaks in the histogram relate to the amount of colour information.

    Their post had a lot more than this excerpt shows, including links to a site. Now funnily those links went to a site selling camera gear. But a quick search of google and I found THIS. Nice little bit of cut-n-paste plagiarism.

    Owning a forum is not only fun and rewarding, but you learn to be alert for particular posting patterns.

    So as the OP in this thread comments. Join in, CONTRIBUTE and learn. Cause eventually someone will notice that someone else isn't using the site as it is intended (Forums mean by definition a place of interaction).
    Last edited by ricktas; 29-06-2012 at 11:40am.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Member Cargo's Avatar
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    Hi Adam,
    I too have learnt heaps from being a part of this site .... but .... I find myself more critical of my photos now and probably tend to over think them & confuse myself
    Therefore I find I'm not posting as many as I did earlier, Also have hit a bit of a wall .... I feel the need to take some classes but lack funding
    I like person to person learning I was never much good at "book learnin"
    Never the less I read through many posts and particpate were I feel comfortable, I have found the challenges and the comps a great way of pushing the boundries making you think a lot about what you are doing ..... All of it adds up to more learning
    Cheers Cargo

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cargo View Post
    Hi Adam,
    I too have learnt heaps from being a part of this site .... but .... I find myself more critical of my photos now and probably tend to over think them & confuse myself
    Therefore I find I'm not posting as many as I did earlier, Also have hit a bit of a wall .... I feel the need to take some classes but lack funding
    I like person to person learning I was never much good at "book learnin"
    Never the less I read through many posts and particpate were I feel comfortable, I have found the challenges and the comps a great way of pushing the boundries making you think a lot about what you are doing ..... All of it adds up to more learning
    Cheers Cargo
    Hi Cargo,

    I know what you mean, I often catch myself thinking I should post more here, but with a lack of time and quality images, it is hard sometimes. I am my own worst critic. Recently I was down the Great Ocean Road and was hoping to post on here only to find that I am not happy with any of the shots.

    Really I should get more involved, as it is the only way to learn......I have turned into a bit of a lurker.....

    Roo
    Call me Roo......
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    I have noticed that my self rick, there is one member on here that I don't even bother to look at there threads anymore because I think they are self centered and give nothing back. Cheers
    Canon 7d efs 15-85mm, Sigma 150-500mm. Nicon coolpix 5400


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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    I've posted on a couple of forums (I'm actually a part time writer for a technology journal) relating to a variety of topics and there is a general consistency I've noticed amongst users and the types of users you get on forums, irrespective of the forum type.


    • Some will come to a forum will the sole purpose of learning but with a relatively selfish attitude in that they believe they shouldn't have to give anything back in return for this knowledge. These are generally low level posters who also couldn't be bothered to use a search facility to find the answer to their problems (if it relates to functionality) or couldn't be bothered to come back and thank people for CC when provided.
    • Some will come on the basis that its purely their equipment holding them back. These are largely the "know it alls" who have studied the internet for everything in a theoretical fashion and who don't post anything because they "know it already". They have good intentions of posting when they get better gear at some point in future but of course, if they do ever get the gear, they suddenly realise its not their gear holding them back and they are embarrassed to provide their photos because by this point they've already posted 1000 times and to post some beginner photos might be embarrassing. They dig a hole and then can't get out.
    • There are those who post for the sole purpose of "showing off" and any criticism is taken as "you don't know what you're talking about". Its a little like your wife asking you if she looks fat in those jeans. She's not actually looking for the truth, she's asking for what she wants to hear. (No offence intended to those women who do actually ask their husbands if they look fat in those jean with the intention of getting an honest response). Its a no win situation because if you provide honest responses, they ignore you or give you negative feedback and if you give them positive responses, they don't learn or get any better.


    There are about 5 or 6 others that I could add to this but I think its best to focus on what you need on a forum. This is a group of people who have an interest in photography, are polite are interested in learning, and an interest in passing on their own personal knowledge they have learnt to other users. 80-90% of users fall into this category and the other 10-20% are where moderators are required. I think professionals sometimes have a fear that by passing on knowledge they are giving away intellectual property but what makes photography art is the eye, not the knowledge of photography or how to use the camera. There are some people who are so naturally talented with an eye for art that they will be able to take world class photos because they can see a photo and there are some that will be able to learn photography but never be artistic enough to full understand how to make art from a photo. (I consider myself in the latter category)

    I also think some beginners or intermediates are hesitant to respond to more experienced photographers but I think they often forget that being able to take a good photo is different from being able to identify what's wrong with a photo. As an example, you don't have to be a sportscar designer to recognise good sportscar. Its also important to remember that sometimes its difficult to see what's wrong with your own picture because you are blinded by what you like about it. A fresh perspective is always good. I had a good example of one I posted which I really liked and someone suggested a crop which made it better. I thought I had a really good picture (by my own personal standards which probably aren't very high) but it turns out I could have been better and I learnt something new. Its the exact reason you post these pictures. Its not the recognition you're looking for, because thats easy enough to get amongst friends who know nothing anyway. Its a way of learning and improving your own skills.
    Last edited by MissionMan; 29-06-2012 at 2:02pm.
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    I'm trying to do a bit more CCing because I am trying to balance it up. I haven't posted much of my own stuff because I feel like I haven't given enough CC to others and the forum moves so fast it's hard to keep up with new posts. I'm also ready about the comps, there is a bit of a dilemma in that you can only put pics in that haven't been posted (which is the right thing to do don't get me wrong) but it's like you feel you have to save your best work for comps. But if you do that you don't get feedback in general from shots that you think are good and would like to improve by asking for CC. So bascially I feel guilty that I haven't CCed enough

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    I'm going to jump in here as I think this is a really great discussion. I probably critique alot more than I post (Rick would know the stats), and there are a few reasons that I do.
    1) I'm rather analytical, in life, of people, of science and of photographs. I think I've been lucky enough to develop a natural talent in this part of me, and it helps in offering and identifying points by which a photo may be improved, what makes it look good or what is causing problems. This also means that any photo that actually makes it here from me has usually been analytically screened to some extent which may reduce potential things to comment on.
    2) I'm hyper-critical of my own work, and am very reserved about what I put up for critique. The exceptions are when I believe it offers an interesting learning experience, something I'm not sure of in terms of what is better or the best way to get alot out of the shot (particularly if I am outside my usual field), or something that I would like to share with the forum. I'm a firm believer in ensuring people get feedback and think this is more important than posting a photo which will probably receive little comment (I tend to get alot of views, not many comments).
    3) Time to process photos is very much a luxury for me, and so I tend to selectively process alot. With my current computer difficulties and PhD coming to an end I don't have alot of time to produce photographs. This tends to mean I end up posting less for critique, and spend more time offering critique for others when I do have time. I think because I tend to be very analytical and am not worried about how a photographer is perceived in terms of experience this allows me to offer opinions to some of the members who generally post very good photos.

    But as with all forums, you reap what you sow.
    Last edited by Xebadir; 29-06-2012 at 2:21pm.
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    Going Cold Blooded
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cargo View Post
    Hi Adam,
    I too have learnt heaps from being a part of this site .... but .... I find myself more critical of my photos now and probably tend to over think them & confuse myself
    Therefore I find I'm not posting as many as I did earlier, Also have hit a bit of a wall .... I feel the need to take some classes but lack funding
    I like person to person learning I was never much good at "book learnin"
    Never the less I read through many posts and particpate were I feel comfortable, I have found the challenges and the comps a great way of pushing the boundries making you think a lot about what you are doing ..... All of it adds up to more learning
    Cheers Cargo
    I wouldn't worry too much about it Cargo - I think we're all in the same boat, we have these preconceptions about what type of photos we like and we tend to judge ourselves very harshly (I do it a lot) on what we can produce. We can take the cop-out approach and blame our equipment ie: "my camera is not good enough" "I don't have filters" "my processing skills suck". I learnt from others here to stop blaming my equipment and my own inadequacies about what I thought of myself as a photographer and just started enjoying it. Enjoying the whole experience, often taking hours to reach a certain spot or wait for certain light. Just being out there (in the bush for me) and getting away is very cathartic for me - and the greater knowledge I'm now armed with over this last year or so has been so invaluable

  10. #10
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    2) I'm hyper-critical of my own work, and am very reserved about what I put up for critique. The exceptions are when I believe it offers an interesting learning experience, something I'm not sure of in terms of what is better or the best way to get alot out of the shot (particularly if I am outside my usual field), or something that I would like to share with the forum. I'm a firm believer in ensuring people get feedback and think this is more important than posting a photo which will probably receive little comment (I tend to get alot of views, not many comments).
    I think the only time you don't do yourself justice with this approach is that you lose the opportunity to get critique from a wider audience that may see something in a photo you may not have seen. Put 100 minds together and the ideas that come up are phenomenal and sometimes while a photo may not be great, it may be something small that makes the difference that you may not see. Whenever I've had shoots with professional photographers, its always amazed me what they've seen in a photo that I haven't seen, particularly given the fact that I was there (I'm talking family photo shoots that we've done outdoors as an example, I don't actually hang around with photographers)

    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    3) Time to process photos is very much a luxury for me, and so I tend to selectively process alot. With my current computer difficulties and PhD coming to an end I don't have alot of time to produce photographs. This tends to mean I end up posting less for critique, and spend more time offering critique for others when I do have time. I think because I tend to be very analytical and am not worried about how a photographer is perceived in terms of experience this allows me to offer opinions to some of the members who generally post very good photos.
    I guess this is where opinions differ sometimes and I guess it might depend on the circumstances and types of photography. These days I try to avoid post processing where possible and try to use in camera processing with my RAW as a backup. Whilst I still shoot RAW, its there as backup and inevitably I end up converting everything to JPG using the in camera settings. Other than the odd bit of cropping (which hopefully I can learn to avoid), I don't believe there is any reason why you can't produce a good picture out of the camera and its this logic that I try aspire to although I probably fail miserably more often than not. I do find that I'm spending less time processing the more I shoot and the more I learn but its still a dismal ratio by standards.

    On the issue of experience, I've never looked at anyone's history when they've offered advice and maybe I'm just unusual, but I believe that most people will respect it for what it is, another opinion on art to look at and decide whether its relevant. I don't think anyone is going to go into your history unless you make outrageous claims about your experience levels or provide advice which is ludicrous. Even then, there are so many disciplines of photography that being an expert in one doesn't qualify you to be an expert in another anyway so most people may have little experience within a particular field they are commenting.
    Last edited by MissionMan; 29-06-2012 at 3:00pm.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorillagirl View Post
    I'm trying to do a bit more CCing because I am trying to balance it up. I haven't posted much of my own stuff because I feel like I haven't given enough CC to others and the forum moves so fast it's hard to keep up with new posts. I'm also ready about the comps, there is a bit of a dilemma in that you can only put pics in that haven't been posted (which is the right thing to do don't get me wrong) but it's like you feel you have to save your best work for comps. But if you do that you don't get feedback in general from shots that you think are good and would like to improve by asking for CC. So bascially I feel guilty that I haven't CCed enough
    Once a competition is over, you are welcome to post your entry to the forums for critique.

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    It's all about the Light!
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    To make it easy, I've put the Unanswered CC Threads search link on the menus

    CCing is fun and easy!
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    Going Cold Blooded
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    Quote Originally Posted by gorillagirl View Post
    I'm trying to do a bit more CCing because I am trying to balance it up. I haven't posted much of my own stuff because I feel like I haven't given enough CC to others and the forum moves so fast it's hard to keep up with new posts. I'm also ready about the comps, there is a bit of a dilemma in that you can only put pics in that haven't been posted (which is the right thing to do don't get me wrong) but it's like you feel you have to save your best work for comps. But if you do that you don't get feedback in general from shots that you think are good and would like to improve by asking for CC. So bascially I feel guilty that I haven't CCed enough
    I too had a lot of trouble CC-ing and lets face it - some of the guys here don't really need a lot of it (Dylan). But I learnt to trust my instincts a little more because you never know what can be achieved when you look at it from a different perspective. We know what we "like" as an image and quite often we can easily add a lot of good advice purely through these small suggestions on what we know and like that the photographer may not have thought about whether it's in regards to camera settings, composition or type of processing/cropping etc.
    A lot of times I've kicked myself not offering cc on certain images thinking "you know what it would be great if...." and then someone else comes along and offers the same idea but has the guts to say it It think maybe I, and I'm sure many others here have to push past their so-called inadequacies and trust our instincts.

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    I am a bit like john. "2) I'm hyper-critical of my own work"
    I haven't been out much lately either which dose not help, but I do try to participate in other ways.
    This is the first forum that I had joined And did not realy have any intention of participating, You have all grown on me AP.
    I dislike my user name now that it is no joke..

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    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    My major problem is I'm so good that I'm worried by publishing my work other photographers might become disillusioned by the competition and give up photography altogether. The last time I submitted an entry into a competition theme entitled "sadness", three of the judges attempted suicide after viewing my entry. I decided against competitions after that.

    Not only are my photography skills amazing, but I'm a genius at Photoshop as well. I once took a photo of Beatrice Arthur when she was in her 60's and my photoshop improvements were so impressive they accepted her for the Miss USA competition. After that, the US government even contracted me to provide fake photos of the weapons of mass destruction prior to the war in Iraq and even their own intelligence organisation didn't know they were fake.

    These days my time is divided between spending time with my family and offering advice to Nikon and Canon on what functionality their new cameras should offer. I privately developed the D800 sensor for Nikon but they tried to screw me over at the last minute so I never provided them with the focus engine to go with it which is why they are having issues with focussing on the side sensors. Its a simple fix but their engineers aren't as smart as I am.

    Its difficult be so talented in an ordinary world. (and I'm good looking as well, how unfair is that???).

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    Going Cold Blooded
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    My major problem is I'm so good that I'm worried by publishing my work other photographers might become disillusioned by the competition and give up photography altogether. The last time I submitted an entry into a competition theme entitled "sadness", three of the judges attempted suicide after viewing my entry. I decided against competitions after that.

    Not only are my photography skills amazing, but I'm a genius at Photoshop as well. I once took a photo of Beatrice Arthur when she was in her 60's and my photoshop improvements were so impressive they accepted her for the Miss USA competition. After that, the US government even contracted me to provide fake photos of the weapons of mass destruction prior to the war in Iraq and even their own intelligence organisation didn't know they were fake.

    These days my time is divided between spending time with my family and offering advice to Nikon and Canon on what functionality their new cameras should offer. I privately developed the D800 sensor for Nikon but they tried to screw me over at the last minute so I never provided them with the focus engine to go with it which is why they are having issues with focussing on the side sensors. Its a simple fix but their engineers aren't as smart as I am.

    Its difficult be so talented in an ordinary world. (and I'm good looking as well, how unfair is that???).

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    and I thought I was good. I think we should have international meet and you can be the chairman

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    Quote Originally Posted by MissionMan View Post
    I think the only time you don't do yourself justice with this approach is that you lose the opportunity to get critique from a wider audience that may see something in a photo you may not have seen. Put 100 minds together and the ideas that come up are phenomenal and sometimes while a photo may not be great, it may be something small that makes the difference that you may not see. Whenever I've had shoots with professional photographers, its always amazed me what they've seen in a photo that I haven't seen, particularly given the fact that I was there (I'm talking family photo shoots that we've done outdoors as an example, I don't actually hang around with photographers)

    I guess this is where opinions differ sometimes and I guess it might depend on the circumstances and types of photography. These days I try to avoid post processing where possible and try to use in camera processing with my RAW as a backup. Whilst I still shoot RAW, its there as backup and inevitably I end up converting everything to JPG using the in camera settings. Other than the odd bit of cropping (which hopefully I can learn to avoid), I don't believe there is any reason why you can't produce a good picture out of the camera and its this logic that I try aspire to although I probably fail miserably more often than not. I do find that I'm spending less time processing the more I shoot and the more I learn but its still a dismal ratio by standards.

    On the issue of experience, I've never looked at anyone's history when they've offered advice and maybe I'm just unusual, but I believe that most people will respect it for what it is, another opinion on art to look at and decide whether its relevant. I don't think anyone is going to go into your history unless you make outrageous claims about your experience levels or provide advice which is ludicrous. Even then, there are so many disciplines of photography that being an expert in one doesn't qualify you to be an expert in another anyway so most people may have little experience within a particular field they are commenting.
    I guess the first point is a valid one, which is why I continue to post images that I intend to share (and hope that if anything could be improved that it would be commented on). In the end we are dealing with a game which is very subjective to peoples interpretation, so there will always be something to comment on if you really want to.

    To me I don't particularly like taking this approach. Partially it has to do with the dynamic range of the shots I take, partially it has to do with all the nasties of Jpeg artifacts and what the camera designer is applying in their rendering of the Jpeg. To me, its kind of like applying a preset to an image, and just being content with the actions of that preset - it doesn't take into account subtle lighting variations, difficulties in metering, colour caste correction, noise interpolation, distortion characteristics. Sure, I think I can probably get a nice shot out of camera, I think most people here could. But I also reckon that with minimal adjustments I could also get a better image of the same scene by spending that little bit of time it takes me to process. I don't like making large edits or cropping if avoidable, but sometimes its necessary to find the best of a shot, which comes back to point one - our composition may not be the best way to frame a scene. Also a shot doesn't necessarily have to be what you originally tried to take - you can be more interpretative of what you a photographing via converting to black and white, or reframing, adjusting horizons etc. Realistically there is nothing better about either method - they are just applying different modifiers to the shot anyway, one which you control, one controlled by manufacturer.

    Less to do with their experience when offering advice, more to do with the view of the particular photographer who is offering the picture. As commented by others, a newer or moderately experienced member may be hesitant to offer opinion on a picture by someone who has a vast experience in a particular type of image. For instance, to me it often seems that people are less willing to offer someone like Dylan, or Jackie a critique because of this, when in fact it could still possibly benefit from contribution. I guess people need to remember most people don't bite .
    Last edited by Xebadir; 29-06-2012 at 5:06pm.

  19. #19
    Ausphotography Regular MissionMan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    To me I don't particularly like taking this approach. Partially it has to do with the dynamic range of the shots I take, partially it has to do with all the nasties of Jpeg artifacts and what the camera designer is applying in their rendering of the Jpeg. To me, its kind of like applying a preset to an image, and just being content with the actions of that preset - it doesn't take into account subtle lighting variations, difficulties in metering, colour caste correction, noise interpolation, distortion characteristics. Sure, I think I can probably get a nice shot out of camera, I think most people here could. But I also reckon that with minimal adjustments I could also get a better image of the same scene by spending that little bit of time it takes me to process. I don't like making large edits or cropping if avoidable, but sometimes its necessary to find the best of a shot, which comes back to point one - our composition may not be the best way to frame a scene. Also a shot doesn't necessarily have to be what you originally tried to take - you can be more interpretative of what you a photographing via converting to black and white, or reframing, adjusting horizons etc. Realistically there is nothing better about either method - they are just applying different modifiers to the shot anyway, one which you control, one controlled by manufacturer.
    As I have a full time job, a 2 yr old and another one on the way, post processing is a luxury I cannot afford most of the time. But at the end of the day, I don't believe a lack of time should stop me from doing what I enjoy. I have 4 presets on my camera (D700) which offer me 90% of what I need for most circumstances out of the box. If photography was my career and I was being paid to post process, then perhaps things would be different. If I was doing studio or wedding photography and the photos I took were memories that someone was paying for, I'd probably consider things like metering as more important but at this point I guess and if its not good enough, well its just another set of bytes I use the delete key on and hopefully I learn for the next time. That said, given my current skill level, I probably have more to learn about framing photos than I have about post processing so perhaps I'm at a different point in my photography learning curve.


    Quote Originally Posted by Xebadir View Post
    As commented by others, a newer or moderately experienced member may be hesitant to offer opinion on a picture by someone who has a vast experience in a particular type of image. For instance, to me it often seems that people are less willing to offer someone like Dylan, or Jackie a critique because of this, when in fact it could still possibly benefit from contribution. I guess people need to remember most people don't bite .
    I guess I haven't been here long enough to know who Dylan or Jackie are so I probably wouldn't hesitate to comment on their pictures if I had a reason to. I guess the question is whether I would have reason to comment. If the photo in question is an amazing photo, I may have no value to add or the improvements may be something only a trained eye could see. This tells me that it may not be a question of whether they are willing to critique, I think its a question of whether they can actually find a reason to critique.
    Last edited by MissionMan; 29-06-2012 at 5:41pm.

  20. #20
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    Ok, I've put a new pic up, I've been good and have been giving back this week

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